What did Homer say when he went to Qatar? Doha.

During the summer of 2004, Carolyn and I hosted a student from Qatar who was in Corner Brook doing an ESL program at CONA (great site, cough, cough). We got paid a small stipend, but like most of the other host families, we did it out of compulsive hospitality and our interest in other cultures. It was an interesting experience and we did learn a lot about a culture very different from our own.

Anyway, we received an invitation in the mail a few weeks back. Apparently, the board of overseers from CONA’s Doha campus were in town and they were inviting the homestays to a fancy dinner to say thanks. The invitation was addressed to Carolyn and invited "you and a guest". Well, Carolyn was going to be out of the country for the dinner, so I thought maybe Mom would like to go.

Someone from CONA called a few days later, asked for Carolyn, but when she wasn’t home asked if I was her husband. I told her Carolyn would be away, but I would like to go and take my mother with me. She said she would have to confirm that that was okay, but we both understood that Carolyn and a guest meant the same thing as Jim and a guest—we both hosted the Qatari student.

I get a call from CONA about a week later telling me where to be for transportation (the dinner was at a resort outside the city). The woman asked if anyone had called about my request to take my mother. She informed me that I would be able to go, but my mother couldn’t. I told her I wouldn’t be attending alone. While musing on how silly this decision was, I confirmed that Carolyn would be able to take my mother to the dinner, but I couldn’t.

Now, I understand if they wanted only the homestay families at the dinner. I can live with that; however, the fact that "Carolyn and a guest" were invited to the dinner gave me a different impression. CONA knew my name—I had to fill out the same screening form as Carolyn when we were interviewed as hosts. I guess I now know how women feel when the house, car, etc. is in their husband’s name or when they get a letter addressed Mrs. John Doe.